Settled in San Diego and with over twenty years involved in a beloved and prolific music scene wonderfully unlike any other, Gabe Serbian is a percussive force who is world-renowned-- lauded by the likes of Slayer’s Dave Lombardo, ranked as one of SPIN magazine’s top 100 alternative drummers, and the driving force of bands praised by icons of the strange from John Zorn to John Waters. Frenetic, meticulous, and lightning-fast, it should take no more than 30 seconds to understand that Serbian’s stick-based assaults are methodical, emotive, and- most importantly- distinctly his. His skill is not just exacting, pinpoint, and wildly versatile, but his drumming possesses and commands the music it is a part of, even when surrounded by abrasive screams and guttural snarls, otherworldly sci-fi synths, or bipolar, seemingly impossible to follow guitar lines.
Many bands Serbian has worked with (The Locust, Retox, Cattle Decapitation, Wet Lungs, Skinwalker and Head Wound City, to name a few) are marked by notably aggressive styles. Undoubtedly multifaceted, however, he has also collaborated with the likes of Alec Empire, Mike Watt and Otto Von Schirach’s more industrial, electronic-based acts, as well as toured with Le Butcherettes for the Omar Rodriguez Lopez-produced Sin Sin Sin LP. Regardless of how one might try to compartmentalize all of these different musicians, the common thread is Serbian’s effortless and unique percussive ability that are distinctively his but yield so fluidly to their counterparts.
Italy provided opportunity for Serbian’s idiosyncratic musical interests in the Rome-based instrumental trio, Zu. A group that experimental composing king John Zorn described as “a powerful and expressive music that totally blows away what most bands do these days." Introduced to Serbian via Ipecac label great Mike Patton, Zu is merely a continuation of the ever-growing list of the innovative and surreal, which Serbian has immersed himself and excelled in for the last two decades.
A consummate artist, Gabe was involved in the writing and performing of multiple tracks for the soundtrack of Italian director Asia Argento’s most recent film, Incompresa, which was first screened at Cannes Festival in May of 2014.
While recording for Incompresa, Serbian met electronic music mastermind, Luke Henshaw (Delta and Gamma) and thus began a collaboration unlike any other. Perhaps inspired by his time recording in the bucolic Italian back roads with Zu, Variations in the Key of the Afterlife could be the soundtrack to a 1970’s Italian film fest. Described as cinematic, space rock, and funky avant-garde, Serbian stretched his artistic expression beyond the aggressive hard-core drummer and firmly plants himself as a composer, producer, and engineer with Variations. Released in 2015 on Three One G, Variations in the Key of the Afterlife is the first installation of a wave of cosmic articulations.
2015 saw the return of hard-core super group, Head Wound City. Started in the early 2000’s and reunited in 2014 to play just their second show ever at a Los Angeles festival curated by Nick Zinner, the single show turned into another, a short tour, a few festival dates, and a new album recorded with Ross Robinson. The highly anticipated release slated for Spring 2016 will undoubtedly showcase Gabe Serbian’s fervent percussive talents. With Serbian’s expansive legacy, it would be hard not to.